Hello faithful followers and welcome new friends! This week’s blog is going to focus on our trip to the Turk Mountain in Shenandoah National Park.
Shenandoah National Park is located in Luray, Virginia, not too far from Washington, D.C. (about 75 miles).
Established on December 26, 1935, with a formal opening by President Franklin Roosevelt on July 3, 1936. The park is 197,411 miles total.
The park offers over 300 years of history, to include the Confederacy and even wars. Nevertheless, once you are there, exploration is unlimited, from the hiking trails, the campgrounds, and campsites, scenic overlooks, waterfalls, visitor centers, a variety of free-roaming wildlife, the unbelievable and untouched nature. The Shenandoah National Park is 311.2 miles, running through the park is the Appalachian Trail.
Shenandoah National Park encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Shenandoah River, the Shenandoah Valley, the scenic views of Skyline Drive and Virginia Piedmont’s rolling hills. The highest peak in the Park is Hawksbill Mountain at a whopping 4,051 feet! Almost 80 acres (nearly 40%) of Shenandoah is protected by the National Wilderness Preservation Center being designated specifically for wildlife.
Now that you have a brief summary of Shenandoah National Park, hopefully, you may decide to visit and share your journey with us soon. Away we go to Turk Mountain
Turk Mountain is an elevation of 2,391.
Turk Mountain Summit View
Two main trails lead to the summit. One is a 20-minute jaunt and the other is a 90-minute hike round trip.
Turk Gap Parking area at milepost 94.2 (elev. 2610 feet), is the location to begin for the shortest trail. Take the AT Southbound for about 200 yards from the parking area and then take the Turk Mountain trail for another 0.9 miles to the summit. The start of the Turk Mountain trail is roughly a 200-foot drop, followed by another 600 feet (less than 3/4 of a mile) climb to reach the summit. 2.4 miles for this trip total and the elevation gain is a little over 600 feet
Parking at the Sawmill Run Overlook at milepost 95.3 (Elevation 2,195 feet) is for the long trail adventurers. Make your way up Skyline Drive by about 20 yards and take the Appalachian Trail Northbound. The walk is approximately 1.5 miles. Once reaching the Turk Mountain Trail, the same directions as the short trail would apply. This hike round trip is 4.8 miles with an elevation gain of 1000 feet.
Ed has hiked this trail several times before, but not since being ill. I am new to hiking, heck, I am new to any type of adventures, travel, exercise, since my diagnosis and after spending almost four years in the bed.
Here is some insight into our experience this time. Our start time was about 3:30 pm.
We chose the shortest hiking trail this go round. The hiking is mainly uphill and very rocky at times. About 200 yards to the destination, you will need to be prepared to cross plenty of rocks and then climb up on the boulders to view the amazement. Once at the top you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains to the right and directly in front of you will be the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley.
Once we embarked on this journey, I was determined to see it through. In my mind twe needed to accomplish this, not be defeated. My favorite quote lately is ”It is not the mountains that we conquer but ourselves”. This could not be truer in our case and what we are facing at these times in our lives.
Both up and down the mountain trail, we stopped for several breaks. Gathering our bearings, catching our breath, getting a grip on our balance, and drinking a fair amount of water. I felt as though I could pass out, moments of my heart fluttering and racing were a little concerning. My face red, my hands hurting, my legs felt like jelly, but I was going to do this. To go on, it was pretty strenuous on us both.
Blue Ridge Mountains to the Right
We were blessed with a beautiful day, that was a clear sign, today was the day to conquer ourselves by facing the mountain.
I wore hiking pants and boots and a t-shirt. Ed wore the same. There was a nice breeze blowing.
Finally, after what felt like a never-ending struggle, we made it to the top of the summit! Over rocks, boulders and uphill, we did it! My ”in awe moment” as usual, that's how I feel about the majority of our adventures, they are all new to me. I’m slowly learning how to live with a body that fights me, we both are! What a great achievement for this week.
Ed did really well, he was patient not only with me, he was also patient with himself. He truly beats himself up in spite of the fact that he is ill. Prior to his illness, he was an avid hiker and camper, he pushed and challenged himself to the max. I encourage him to listen to his body as I have to listen to mine, I'm not willing to watch him die attempting to defeat the mountain per say, especially when we can stop and come back and try again. He worries about me just as much. We are in this together and that's a great feeling.
Hopefully, I don't flare this week. I am taking my muscle relaxers and ibuprofen!
If you are not suffering from any type of illnesses or disabilities, I strongly suggest you take the time to hike this trail. It's very peaceful and the view from the top is certainly something you must witness yourself.
If you are suffering, take your time and pace yourself. If you don't make it the first time, it's ok, you can always try again.
Well until next time friends, that's a little peek into our Turk Mountain hike and I hope you enjoy some of the photos posted here.
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